Naming a human is no small task. After all, your kid is going to have to live with their name for the rest of their lives—so naturally, you want to find something that’s pleasing to the ear, original but not kooky, has decent nickname potential, etc. The good news is that there are plenty of choices that check all the boxes. The bad news? There will probably be plenty of parents who beat you to the punch. For this reason, we put together a list of winning alternatives to the most popular baby names—you know, so your kid won’t have the same first name as five of his classmates.
If You Like These 10 Popular Baby Names, Consider These 10 Less Common Alternatives
1. If You Like Olivia, Try Lucia
Olivia is the #1 most popular name for girls in 2022, which means next year there will be Olivias crawling all over the country (literally). If you’re looking for a more original alternative, we suggest Lucia. Like Olivia, Lucia is also of Latin origin—and though there are fewer syllables, it has the same vowel ending and a softer sound.
2. If You Like Noah, Try Micah
Noah is the single most popular name for boys at the moment, and (this probably goes without saying) it has biblical origins. Micah is another two-syllable Old Testament gem and a fine alternative that translates to ‘who is like God?’ in Hebrew.
3. If You Like Emma, Try Esme
Emma is an undeniably lovely name and many new parents seem to agree, since it’s the second most popular name for baby girls. We think Esme—an English first name and past participle of the Old French verb esmer, or “to esteem”—should also be held in high regard. Much like Emma, Esme is short and sweet, with soft consonant sounds that roll off the tongue.
4. If You Like Liam, Try Willem
Liam is the second most popular boy name right now. It’s also an Irish variation of the name William. In keeping with the theme, you might consider Willem, a Dutch variant instead. Plus, the names’ meanings—Liam means “guardian” and Willem means “resolute protector”—are pretty darn similar.
5. If You Like Amelia, Try Celia
Here, a (rhyming) alternative to the third most popular girl name this year. Both Celia and Amelia are Latin names, but the former means heaven, while the latter symbolizes industriousness and fertility (and your future feminist doesn’t want to be reduced to that).
6. If You Like Oliver, Try Iver
Oliver, the third most popular boy name, is everywhere. Lop off the first two letters, though, and you have something unique. Iver, pronounced Ee-vair, is a name of Scandinavian origin that means “archer.”
7. If You Like Ava, Try Mila
Ava, an exceedingly popular choice for girls right now, is a name of unknown origin that’s favored for being cute and diminutive, but also sophisticated and feminine. Mila boasts a similar chic-but-delicate vibe with an added cosmopolitan edge.
8. If You Like Gold, Try Cash
Believe it or not, Baby Center’s list of the most popular boy names puts Gold in fourth place, leaving Cash (#236 on the list) in the dust. As such, if you’re looking to name your boy after something with monetary value, Cash is a decidedly more original choice (and a nod to one of the coolest country singers of all time, too).
9. If You Like Sophia, Try Soleia
Clocking in at #5 on the list of most popular girl names is Sophia, a Greek name meaning “wisdom.” Soleia, on the other hand, is a Latin name that means “sun.” It’s also a good alternative to Sophia, given that both ‘S’ names have three syllables and soft, feminine consonant sounds.
10. If You Like Elijah, Try Elan
Elijah is a big hit right now, ranking in the top five on both the Baby Center and Social Security Administration list of popular names. Elan, though not nearly as popular, is a soft, gender-neutral name that is also of Hebrew origin and shares a similar spelling, too.